The Strange Case of Franco A


On 29th October a German court ordered the release of army officer Franco A for lack of evidence. The man was held in detention since April this year. His alleged crime? That’s a bit of a story. I’m not sure if I get all details together, but believe me, you will not care at some point.


While he served in Germany’s army, the Bundeswehr, Franco A claimed asylum to steal money from the welfare payments originally set up for refugees/immigrants that came with the migration wave in 2015. The swindle was prominently featured in the media and gained a lot of attention by conservatives. It was just too good not to be true for an opposition claiming that Merkel was utterly over-challenged with the situation. Franco A is not only white, he also does not speak Arabic. How on earth could he be granted asylum status and handed out welfare benefits?


Once the media story had the attention of the public, Franco A turned out to be a ‘right-wing extremist’, whatever that means. His master thesis at the French military university Saint-Cyr was said to have triggered an investigation of Germany’s military intelligence service MAD (Militärischer Abwehrdienst) – so right-wing it was.


We also learnt that his neo-Nazi views were an open secret in the French town of Illkirch where he served in a Franco-German unit. Investigators from the Bundeswehr have found “indications of right-wing and racist ideas” in his room. In addition to a swastika carved on an assault rifle, they discovered pictures “glorifying” the Wehrmacht.


Franco A bought a gun, a historic pistol from the Nazi era. This is more evidence that he is in all the nasty wrongthink imaginable. The newspapers assured us that he is not alone. Nazis are many and may never be understated. The talk was of a ‘network’ of right-wing extremists in the Bundeswehr.


With two accomplices, who were part of this ‘network’, Franco A planned to topple the government with a killing spree. This is the point where most English-speakers get a little suspicious. But we are talking about Germans here. So the three men were in to topple the government – with the old pistol. But one of them, a 24-year-old soldier, also organised and stashed shells and handguns. Had I believed the media, I think, I would have worried about the unavailability of military equipment for the soldiers. The Bundeswehr has quite a reputation for not having a good reputation.


Why would somebody claim asylum if he wants to topple the government with an old pistol? Answer: To be somehow found out, but still be seen as a Syrian and to stoke a race war – Charles Manson style. This danger to the government (German: Staatgefährdung – more often used as adjective: staatsgefährdend) must be taken very seriously, of course, say the media.


The details of the plot are a bit mysterious. Somehow Merkel’s life was not directly targeted because this particular coup d’etat came with a hit list. Franco A wanted to shoot as an asylum seeker an array of left-wing activists and fringe politicians.


In the wake of the media story, the Department of Defence under Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a trained medical doctor and former Family Affairs Minister, expressed suspicion that the entire army is infested with right-wing extremists. The military bases were soon purged of all artefacts that remotely reminded leftists of the Wehrmacht (the name of the German army under Hitler).


Officially investigators are still collecting evidence against Franco and his friends. I am not all too worried about them. My guess is that they do not exist at all. I put my little tin-foil yarmulke on and say that Franco A is a media ghost, born in the aftermath of the foiled military coup in Turkey on 15 July 2016 to saw mistrust among our soldiers. The elites have become nervous after Brexit, Trump and the failed rebellion against Erdogan.


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Stone-Eater Added Dec 21, 2017 - 3:10pm
Answer is easy:
Europe has to be destabilized economically. By refugees which are not the cause of OUR actions, by so-called multikulti PC and by fear of certain circles that we might quit NATO and allow GOOD relations with Russia and Asia.
Why ? Because we have still the brains, the infrastructure and the discipline to play an important role in world economy.
Some don't like that. We here have understood.
Some of us, at least.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 21, 2017 - 3:17pm
The most obvious case are the sanctions against Russia. Whose economy is damaged ? Not the US one, but ours. And our politicians are bought or knighted by the US, be it in WHO, NATO, rating agencies (c) USA or or or.
We're fucking cowards in Europe. And I'm not proud of that. We would have the capability to stand up against the USA. But we don't.
So I congratulate the US because we're a bunch of idiots who follow blindly a nation which has not OUR good in plan, but only theirs.
We will be the next losers (again) in a war USA-Russia. Wait for it. Russia is the eternal enemy of the US ever since, and the proxies they fight will ultimately end in a big war. We're too stupid to realize that, so no problem.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 21, 2017 - 3:25pm
The US caused the refugee crisis we face here now. And they close their borders.
We're also aware of that. But what can we do ? What can an intelligent person without a gun do against and idiot with an Uzi`?
Sorry, but I'm pissed off.
That whole story of Ben would not have happened when the US didn't start the destruction of the Middle East.
No bash me for that :-)
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 21, 2017 - 3:51pm
SEF: I think, I agree with you almost completely. Two minor differences: 1) Europeans by and large have a psychological problem that stops them from thinking for themselves. It is not the US who stops our leaders. There are exceptions: Schröder, Blaire, Thatcher... were not mere followers. It is laziness that so much is copied from the US. 2) Russia is neither devil nor angel.
Stone-Eater Added Dec 21, 2017 - 4:16pm
But: Schröder was ok, Blair is and was a US puppet and Thatcher brought neoliberalism into Europe - means - neofeudal corporotocracy. And the Falkland joke LOL
Mircea Negres Added Dec 21, 2017 - 4:22pm
Well, on the bright side (for me) at least it's not only the South African Military Intelligence Formation, these days divided between the Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence divisions, who are fantasists. Not sure how much of a consolation that is to those who have ever found themselves the targets of ridiculous and unfounded investigations which ruined their careers and lives, but what the hell. It seems to me the Germans need to get a dose of realism, because in my formerly professional military and private security opinion, it takes a hell of a lot more than three people, one gun and a few bullets to overthrow a government... 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 5:41am
Neelon: Interesting that it has rhyme and reason for you. Can you explain why using a Nazi-era pistol helps to blame Syrians on the murders? How is it one 'terror attack' and at the same time a hitlist with people who have nothing to do with each other? Why is the purely representational president with his strong security protection on the hitlist and Merkel is not. Why are most on the hitlist unknown activists and local politicians and how would their death be 'staatsgefährdent', i.e. threatening to overthrow the government? Ideas?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 5:44am
Moreover, if it is a serial killing, I would get that traces with material from the asylum swindle could be laid. But how is that an option in a terror attack?
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 5:49am
Translation correction: I meant the office of the president is purely ceremonial.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 10:13am
If the state wanted to lock this guy up for no reason they would not have invented this fantastic story.
Yes, I think the story is the purpose, not locking somebody up.
Nobody should be expected to explain everything that was going on through his head as developed his plot.
Agreed. But what is the cause of the derangement? Unlike with Islamits or Charles Manson (the Family) we learnt nothing about mental illness or drugs. The story goes that he is just ideologically driven. Why is no reason given for this extend of derangement that would make some ends meet in the story?
What is it that you’re suggesting?
This is detailed in the article.
May I ask why his crime is 'staatsgefährdent'? This assessment was done by the media and government officials. That can't be explained with his mental health. How was anything he did a substantial risk to the government?
Thomas Napers Added Dec 22, 2017 - 11:17am
I read the article and have no idea what you’re suggesting.  Assuming you’re right about the accusations and it’s all a big farce, what purpose does it serve?  With all the entities involved in the case, how can you explain that nobody has alerted the media to the real reason he was locked-up, seeing it's something other than the stated reason? 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 11:45am
Napers: what purpose does it serve?
Telling everybody that conservatives are dangerous, sowing mistrust within the military, ridiculing conservatives who complained about the welfare theft scam.... It is all in the article.
how can you explain that nobody has alerted the media
Who shall alert the media about their own media story? They know their story. Though it's unclear if it is now an attempted terror attack or the plan to go on a serial murder spree. They changed the story so often. In any case, it was always 'staatsgefährdend', i.e. a real danger to the government.
It would be a shame if somebody was really locked up. But the whole story is so far-fetched that I think Franco A is not a real person, just an invention.
John Minehan Added Dec 22, 2017 - 6:27pm
"The Bundeswehr has quite a reputation for not having a good reputation."
The Bundeswehr was pretty thoroughly cleansed of Wehrmacht artifacts when it was set up in the 1950s.
Bundeswehr  is very competent but tries very hard to not be overly "military."  Although Leo II tanks, with their MG-42 TC's MG look a lot like a Tiger II's grandson. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 7:07pm
Thanks John for your appreciation for the Leopold 2 tank. I'm actually quite proud of the company that produces them although they license the manufacturing which is done abroad.
Of the 244 tanks the Bundeswehr own, only 95 can be used. The others are currently 'in repair'. That is not the problem of the model, but of the poor maintenance by the German army.
John Minehan Added Dec 22, 2017 - 7:10pm
I remember them in REFORGER '88, watching them knock sown fog markers with impunity and chew up curbs. . . .
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 7:30pm
John, remember that I'm no native speaker. I don't know what sown fog markers are. Did they hit markers in a fog (maybe you mistyped 'knock down')? 'Chew up' means climb. Yes, they navigate well.
Since 1988 sings have changed alot with the Bundeswehr. It has been downsized, women serve, no conscription and basically no vehicle works. A few years ago all the standard shotguns had to be exchanged because they did not target well under the duress of heating up (that was a test result. No soldier complaint, but the domestic military-industrial complex needed the tax money, I guess.)
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 22, 2017 - 7:38pm
Did I just type 'sings' for 'things'? Oh dear, I do actually pronounce the various 'th' sounds quite decently. Geethes.
John Minehan Added Dec 22, 2017 - 8:21pm
"Down" fog markers (those white posts that show where the road ends . . . that cost DM 35.00 to replace in 1988. 
Thomas Napers Added Dec 23, 2017 - 6:44am
A man is wrongfully imprisoned and a fabulous story is made-up.
How does that translate into conservatives are dangerous?  
A conservative wasn’t dangerous, a far right neo-nazi was dangerous.  If they wanted to say something terrible about conservatives, he wound’t have had the Nazi pistol. 
How does that sow mistrust within the military? 
Within any large organization there will be crazy people. 
How does that ridicule those who complain about welfare theft?
The story had Franco illegally receiving welfare.  If anything, that supports those who complain about welfare theft. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 23, 2017 - 10:42am
A conservative wasn’t dangerous, a far right neo-nazi was dangerous.
You are aware how conservatives are conflated with neo-Nazis by the left? Remember John G?
How does that sow mistrust within the military? 
Are these serious questions? You don't see how a witchhunt to find 'right-wing networks' is sowing mistrust?
How does that ridicule those who complain about welfare theft?
Because they are the same people maligned as 'Nazis' who were presented as still a dangerous force. Police reports that in the last two years only one fatal crime, a manslaughter, was committed by a right-wing person for political reasons. They don't have real Nazis that's why they have to make them up. The real target are people who are opposed to immigration and for liberal gun laws.
They can only be shamed when they get the media attention. A spectacular welfare fraud garners the attention of conservatives. Many people are ashamed to stand for their opinions if they are likened with really dangerous, state and security threatening monsters.
Thomas Napers Added Dec 23, 2017 - 6:38pm
What John G believes is not likely consistent with what the general public believes.  My singular point is that if the left wanted to make the right look bad, there are better ways to do so.  Why would they make up such a bizarre story?  The Nazi weapon didn’t help their cause. Same with the fact he was gaming the system to receive welfare benefits.  Not to mention the fact that every investigator would have to be a part of the “sham” charges, meaning they would all be politicized investigators.  I know conspiracies can be fun and alluring, but I don’t see anything amiss here.   
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 24, 2017 - 5:31am
What John G believes is not likely consistent with what the general public believes.
SEF had pointed this out some time ago in another thread and probably many times before I came here, John G is very representative of the European left which is setting the tone in Germany. BTW Hillary Clinton also did a smear job lumbing all Trumpsters together with Nazis. Do you really claim that you don't understand what I'm saying?
The Nazi weapon didn’t help their cause.
How not? Link the individual that you constantly mention with the word 'right-wing' (German: rechts) to something that has to do with the Nazis!
Same with the fact he was gaming the system to receive welfare benefits.
I have explained how this was the attention seeking first step of the media story.
Not to mention the fact that every investigator would have to be a part of the “sham” charges, meaning they would all be politicized investigators. 
You don't even have to have investigators. All the public saw was one release note from the court. The rest is all done by a few media individuals and a few politicians. I don't even remember a press conference of the leaders of the police or anything.
I know conspiracies can be fun and alluring, but I don’t see anything amiss here.
Good, can you give answers to the questions in my comments above?
Thomas Napers Added Dec 24, 2017 - 10:01pm
I understand the conspiracy you’re putting forward and I think it’s ridiculous.  Do you doubt he owned a Nazi era pistol, that he was illegally receiving welfare or that he wrote some twisted things?  Which part of this story is made-up?
The thing that bothers me the most about your story, is that I don’t find it all that damaging to conservatives.  Sure the left tries to make it sound like Nazis and conservatives are tied at the hip, but that doesn’t make it true.  The guy is crazy and this story is yet another opportunity for conservatives to distance themselves from Nazism.  If anything, it may serve to help the conservative movement. 
Finally, a story like this is so crazy it just has to be true.  There is no way a bunch of liberals sat in a room and thought of this as the way to get to conservatives.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Dec 25, 2017 - 4:05am
Naspers: You use this word 'conspiracy' like Hillary Clinton. Are you aware that the story is a conspiracy no matter how you look at it? Somebody conspired. No side in this debate has no conspiracy theory. Do you understand this?
Which part of this story is made-up?
All of it. As I say in the article.
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I don’t find it all that damaging to conservatives.
I really, really can't help you. Sorry.

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